Several remembered enjoying afternoons in the most unexpected of places – in Fred and Ann Savin’s back garden at Headington.
They had a pool built at their home in London Road in 1975 and dozens of children crowded into it every day when the weather was fine.
READ MORE: City council calls time on Temple Cowley Pools
It was the only public pool in Headington and proved very popular.
Sadly, the opportunity didn’t last too long as the following year, the couple gave up their jobs as assurance salesman and traffic warden and moved to run the Cape of Good Hope pub at The Plain.
Mr Savin said: “It’s been fun while it lasted. We haven’t minded a bit all the children coming here to swim.
“After all, there is nowhere else for them to go in Headington.
“We have always kept an eye on them to see they come to no harm. A fair number of children have actually learned to swim here in our pool.”
Other readers remembered learning to swim and enjoying summer afternoon fun at the outdoor pools at Hinksey Park off Abingdon Road, Tumbling Bay off Botley Road and Long Bridges near Donnington Bridge.
Long Bridges was a favourite spot for city swimmers for more than a century.
It opened in 1886 after the site was acquired for what was then a huge sum of money, £1,000. In its day, it was a hugely popular leisure attraction in the city.
Landscaped by council staff and with a punt service to ferry people across the river from East Oxford, before the building of Donnington Bridge Road, it offered a fun day out at no cost.
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However, with the expense of running the outdoor pools escalating, the city council shut Long Bridges in 1989.
The closure of Tumbling Bay and Wolvercote followed later, although efforts were made later to revive swimming in the river at Wolvercote.
One reader remembered learning to swim in the St Clement’s pool behind St Clement’s Church in Marston Road, sharing the water with ducks, swans and the odd tin can floating by.
Pupils at the nearby New Marston Church of England School (now St Michael’s School) were told in the 1950s that they had to swim there otherwise they would not be allowed to enjoy the comforts of the new indoor and luxurious Temple Cowley pool.
The revamped swimming pool was meant to be completed in 1985 but swimmers had to wait about three months for the £3m pool complex to open.
Peter Beresford, the city council architect, said tests were carried out on all three pools and each got the thumbs up.
But in September 2010, the council announced plans to build a new pool and leisure centre in Blackbird Leys and demolish Temple Cowley Pools.
About 10,000 people signed a petition to save it but the council said the new £9.23m facility on the Leys was a suitable replacement and Temple Cowley was costing the authority too much to run.
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About the author
Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here.
He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.
His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning.
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